EMPTY houses in Gresham in Middlesbrough are being given a new lease of life thanks to a local community group.

Middlesbrough Community Land Trust (MCLT), a group of volunteers from Middlesbrough, was formed to look at ways to tackle the problem of long standing empty homes in the area.

Having been awarded funding from the Home and Communities Agency’s Empty Homes programme, MCLT approached Middlesbrough Council with hopes of taking empty properties back into public use.

In 2012, full ownership of the first three houses was transferred to the Trust and volunteers have since been working with local traders and contractors as well as working on the properties themselves.

Mark Keenan, director and finance officer of MCLT, said: “The initiative has carried out fantastic work so far, turning lifeless empty properties into desirable, affordable family homes for Middlesbrough. We’re very proud of our success. All work is guaranteed and completed to a very high standard.”

Middlesbrough Council has now transferred four more properties over to the Trust on a lease basis. The Trust is already on site at two of the properties and hoping to start work on the next two this year.

To find out more about Middlesbrough Community Land Trust, visit: www.middlesbroughclt.org.uk